on becoming brave

link window brave

How different would things be if I approached each situation, each person, with bravery?

That’s the question that scratched away at my heart and made me choose brave as my OneWord365. I really wrestled with committing to a word like that, for—well—lots of reasons.

At least for me, brave is a big, scary, monstrous word. I have never felt brave. Ever. It’s not a word I would ever use to describe myself. I’ve done brave things at times, sure. I’ve taken some risks. I’ve made some choices others have deemed courageous. But deep down, I would never categorize myself as a brave person.

But I want to.

I want to be someone who’s life is marked by bravery.

Don’t hear me wrong… I don’t want to be known for living an adventurous life. I’m not trying to be edgy, or reckless, or thrill-seeking.

I don’t want to do brave things. I want to be brave.

And, I’m discovering, there’s a big difference.

It’s more about the posture of my heart than about my actions. It’s about changing my internal dialogue—the words I say to myself, about myself. It’s a willingness to lean into who I really am… and live it out wholeheartedly.

Six full months into the year, I paused to take stock. And I have to admit—I’m a little surprised by all the ways I’ve seen bravery come to bear in my life so far this year. It’s probably not been in ways that others might expect (or that they’d even call brave), but it’s usually the smallest steps of bravery which are the most difficult. For me, anyway.

I’ve opened my heart to possibilities. I’ve let myself enjoy the present without knowing what the future holds. I’ve let my guard down. I’ve let others in. I’ve leaned into relationships. I’ve used my words more. I’ve embraced hard truths. I’ve taken steps towards healthier boundaries. I’ve put myself first in areas I’d always put myself last. I’ve started going to church again. I’ve stuck my neck out work-wise. I’ve resumed regular writing commitments. I’ve made big financial decisions. I’ve intentionally dug into enjoying my now-life. I’ve faced a huge loss and didn’t fall apart like I once thought I would.

I don’t expect to feel like I’ve crossed some huge finish line in December, having arrived-at-last at being brave. But I do sense that I am already becoming brave. And that is what I want to feel every day for the rest of my life.

The process of becoming holds more value than the being, and I don’t want to lose the wonder and vulnerability of the journey. 

So I take a deep breath, and I close my eyes, and I ask for an extra dose of courage for everyone and everything I will face.

And I choose to become braver today than I was yesterday…

:: :: ::

I’d love to hear about your OneWord365 journey at this halfway point.
If you blog about it, please share the link. 
Otherwise, would you share a few thoughts in the comments? 

Originally posted on Velvet Ashes >


12 Responses to “on becoming brave”
  1. Mark Allman

    We already are; it’s what we are not that we should be striving for. That which we esteem.

    It is not where we are at and not where we are going that is most important… I think it is the journey that is most precious…. it’s where we spend most all of our time. I tell my children often to “Relish the Journey”.

    Alece you may not feel brave but you sure look like it to me. I’m glad you are doing all of those positive things you mentioned. I am sure they are blessing you and in turn others.

  2. Pierre says:


    For me bravery is simply when I take the next step without fear. Am I afraid when I do these steps? Absolutely. Who knows the consequences, but with taking that step, I venture a little bit further into the unknown.

    My one word was Acceptance and mostly acceptance of who I am and what I am. I have a very hard time with it. By this time, I wanted to be further along my journey, but I still see rejection around every corner. Kudos for letting others in and building new relationships. You are truly brave in my eyes.


  3. Terri Poss says:


    I’m a pretty staid person, not given to extreme demonstrations of emotion. But your big paragraph (too awkward to number them!) in the middle just made me want to jump up and down and shout for joy and smile and cry and Idon’tknowwhatelse! I hope you know that I’m always over here cheering for you and for the growth you’re accomplishing. And especially for the fact that you’re recognizing and acknowledging it! Joyce Landorf Heatherly wrote a book years ago called “Balcony People.” The premise is that we all have people in our lives who are there to cheer us on and encourage us (Heb. 11 types – great cloud of witness and all that), as well as people who (try to) suck us down into the mire with them to share their drama/misery/addiction/whatever and discourage us. Balcony people vs basement people. FYI – you can forever count on me to be in your balcony!

  4. I have a post I am working on that references my word for the year, but i’m not quite done with it. when i do, i’ll let you know! I wasn’t sure i was going to post it, but it’s a good story! I am excited for you to see all the changes and all the things you are pressing into. Love, love this!

  5. You’re truly one of the bravest people I know.

    My one word would probably be trust.

    That’s a biggie.

  6. Betty Draper says:

    ” It’s more about the posture of my heart than about my actions” You have captured “being brave” in this one sentence. I cannot tell you the countless times someone has said to me, you are so brave to serve the Lord over seas. Knowing the truth about myself helps me to explain it does not take bravery to serve the Lord, it’s takes His heart beating in me, knowing HE loves me more then I could ever love Him or any lost person. It’s His bravery that motivates me. Forget the adventurous part, I would never leave the good old USA, good church, family, friends for any other reason then to reach a lost soul. Like you I have done many brave things in the name of Jesus but where I found I needed to be brave was not on the mission field. It’s when I am faced with forgiving someone who hurts me, giving of myself when I don’t want to, being slow to speak and quick to hear, that takes bravery. I seek to be a wise courageous hearted woman for the Lord which takes faith which sometimes requires being brave. I have learned the bridge from fear to courage is faith, pure faith in Him who has walked that bridge for me. Great post.

    • “…where I found I needed to be brave was not on the mission field. It’s when I am faced with forgiving someone who hurts me, giving of myself when I don’t want to, being slow to speak and quick to hear, that takes bravery.” So much YES to this, Betty! Thank you…

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